- S.F. budget surplus grows nearly $80 million (SF Chronicle)
The current budget cycle will end with a $129.1 million surplus, $80 million more than previously anticipated, according to a new budget report released Monday by the Office of the Controller.
- Community Policing Coming to BART (Bay Citizen)
Under scrutiny for three fatal officer-involved shootings in four years, the BART Police Department will take a more community-oriented approach to patrolling the transit system, The Bay Citizen has learned. BART police will be assigned to cover smaller portions of the system, so that they can get to know the local people and problems, said Tom Radulovich, vice president of BART's board of directors. Officers will also be much more visible on trains, at stations and in parking lots, Radulovich said.
- Calif. to probe charges of shoddy PG&E pipe welds (SF Chronicle)
The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating two veteran welders' accusations that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews did substandard work during strength testing of gas pipelines that the company performed last year in reaction to the San Bruno disaster, officials said Monday.
- BART extension to San Jose getting $250 million in federal funds -- more than expected (SJ Mercury News)
Federal transportation officials have approved a $250 million infusion for the BART-to-San Jose project -- more than its planners had even hoped for. The Valley Transportation Authority announced Monday that it will receive $100 million in federal funds for the current fiscal year as soon as an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration is signed March 12. And for the fiscal year beginning in October, the budget President Barack Obama released Monday calls for an additional $150 million for the 10-mile, $2.1 billion line from Fremont to the Berryessa area of San Jose. That's $20 million more than what local officials had originally estimated they would get annually.
If adopted, Obama's budget would mean fewer subsidies for Central Valley farmers, smaller grants for Valley counties and less money for incarcerating the illegal immigrants who crowd the state's jails and prisons. The $3.8 trillion budget also subtracts money used to clean California beaches while it invests in preserving Valley lands and aiding some of the state's 2.5 million community college students.
A federal appeals court on Monday appeared likely to turn away the latest legal challenge to Proposition 209, indicating that it is bound by a previous ruling upholding California's voter-approved ban on public affirmative action programs. During an hour of arguments in San Francisco, a three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel questioned its ability to tamper with Proposition 209 in view of the court's 1997 decision finding the nearly 16-year-old law constitutional.
With the holiday weekend just days away, Sierra ski resorts are getting what they've been waiting for: snow -- and not the kind they've been making all season. The real stuff! A mild system that brought some 10 inches of snow from Yosemite to Tahoe also blanketed the South Bay's Mount Hamilton on Monday with its first measurable snowfall of the year: some 4½ inches, which was just enough to close the road and provide a wintry scene on rain-starved hills that remain more brown than green.